The Monotony of Micromanagement

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs


Almost everywhere I’ve turned, I’ve found micromanagement in some shape or form. It baffles me how a person can manage every single detail and need such a high level of control. Isn’t it draining? Isn’t there more to life than the small details? I understand being detail-oriented, but isn’t there a limit? Micromanagement is monotonous. Why can’t people stop doing it? 

It does not promote a positive environment. Micromanagement only leads to a more negative space, and it can be seen in our everyday lives outside of the workplace as well. It does not make people feel good about themselves and can lend a pessimistic way of thinking. Why would anyone want to try or do something they are passionate about when someone is just going to knock it down? The “Am I good enough?” question starts to set in and makes people question their abilities.

The fix: Try explaining the reasons why you did something a certain way and why it’s effective. Keep a positive attitude and respond without hostility or aggression. Some of the best ways negativity gets the best of people is through anger. Take a step back and don’t take it personal. Remember that micromanagers are perfectionists trying to round out their own visions. Know that yours are still valid and worthy even if they don’t match someone else’s.

It’s a power play move. Usually a strategic move to claim or demonstrate power, micromanagement immediately establishes unhealthy hierarchy. There are effective ways to manage people without making them feel like they under a microscope.

The fix: Don’t feed into power or egos. Stay humble and be kind in continuing to do the best you can. It can be tough to brush it off your shoulders, but ultimately, this will be better for you in the long run.

It stems from trust issues. When you really think about it, a micromanager most likely has a lot of trust issues. They cannot trust the job is going to get done exactly the way they want it to and that scares them. They can’t see past their own perspective, and it is a sad reminder that they have a lack of trust in other people. How do you develop trust with a person who is resistant to change?

The fix: One person can only handle so much. Rephrase the way you say things if you are trying to get the micromanager to give you more freedom. For instance, explain to them that you’d like to take something off their plate and discuss how you would tackle it. A little bit of open communication can be the first step in a trusting relationship.

It’s happens every single day. When micromanagement is a consistent force in your life, it can be tough to enact or expect change. There are going to be instances where this type of behavior is unavoidable, and we will continue to watch others struggle with this form of management.

The fix: Take baby steps. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. A trusting relationship can be created over time and small changes will start to become bigger ones. The problem with obsessing over small details may seem like a big deal to you, but consider the other person’s perspective. Why do they always sweat the small stuff? Is there a way to open a new line of communication that hasn’t been opened before? Can you take a different approach and try to find common ground with them?

In writing this post, I’ve realized that there are several ways to handle micromanagement. I, too, deal with micromanagers on a daily basis. The only approach that should not be taken is to run away from the problem. Micromanagers exist in every corner of the universe. If you think you never have to deal with them once you cut them out of your life, then think again. The best course of action is to understand your situation and determine the best way to proceed. After all, you cannot depend on a micromanager to change. If you want change, then you have to reposition yourself to better understand the situation. Don’t allow another person to dull your flame; continue to shine bright.

This blog is based on my personal experiences. I’m not an expert psychologist or mastermind who has all the answers. But I do have my own personal experiences that I hope other people can relate to and, in turn, share their stories so we can continue to find better solutions.

How do you deal with micromanagers? Do you have any useful tips?

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